Contact: Gail Jackson
Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5430
The growing world population means we now face problems of over-exploitation of natural resources, rapid climate change and habitat degradation. Ecology is the scientific study of the interaction of organisms with their physical, chemical and biological environment and is vital for understanding and tackling these global issues.
Ecology and Environmental Science will appeal to students with an interest in the diversity of the natural world, and those concerned with environmental issues. Students will have the choice of whether to follow a curriculum directed towards conservation and issues concerned with ecological management, or one more closely concerned with environmental science. Alternatively students can maintain a broad mix of subjects within the degree, developing expertise in both curriculum areas.
Courses concerned with conservation and ecological management will focus on the principles and practice of managing ecological systems. You will be taught by staff who have close links with conservation and sustainable development organisations around the world. You will study a variety of courses throughout the four years, including Origins & Diversity of Life, Sustainability, Society & Environment and Global Environmental Processes, and will examine topics such as biodiversity, conservation management and land use.
You will also have the opportunity to undertake research projects and will complete both field and laboratory assignments. The programme will provide you with the skills and knowledge for a career in conservation and environmental protection.
Students choosing to take predominately environmental science courses will find that these programmes offer a broad understanding of physical, chemical and biological sciences and will provide you with the skills and knowledge to tackle environmental issues at the end of your degree. During the programme you will study ecology, geology, water resource management, land use, environmental pollution and environmental modelling. You will be taught by staff involved in high-level research in these subject areas.
In your first year you will be introduced to fundamental aspects of ecology, such as the origin and diversity of life, the organisation of ecological communities and the influence of the environment on living organisms.
You will also undertake a quantification course, which will be either a course based on earth modelling and prediction, or one focused on quantification in the life sciences. In addition you will also be able to select courses from other academic areas, some directly related, such as geography, chemistry or geology and some that may help to widen career opportunities, including modern languages, computing, management and business studies.
In your second year you will study the principles of ecology and field ecology and also soil, water and atmospheric processes. You can also choose topics including global environmental processes, animal biology, the green planet, oceanography and environmental chemistry.
In your third year you will continue with core ecology courses chosen from a wide range. Courses such as Population and Community Ecology, Behaviour Ecology and Natural Resource Management may be studied by students more interested in conservation and environmental management, whereas Environmental Pollution and Ecological & Environmental Analysis may be studied by students more interested in environmental science.
You will also attend one field course at the University’s outdoor centre at Loch Tay. There are opportunities to spend your third year abroad through one of the University’s exchange programmes.
In your final year you will continue to study core courses and choose from a wide selection. You will also complete a specialised honours project with individual supervision.
All degree programmes involve fieldwork. There is no additional contribution required to the teaching costs involved, but for the residential fieldwork and individual field-based projects, students cover accommodation, subsistence and the costs of travel to the fieldwork location, at a subsidised rate. The actual student contribution depends on the degree programme involved and the courses selected.
The course is taught through a combination of tutorials, lectures, practical classes and fieldwork. In your final years, you will undertake more private study and will receive individual supervision with your honours dissertation project.
You will be assessed by coursework and exams and, in your fourth year, a dissertation.
These degree programmes are particularly relevant for students interested in working for an environmental consultancy or conservation organisation but also prepare you for careers in the forestry and water industries. Graduates have also gone on to work for government agencies providing policy advice or have entered teaching, finance and management. Many students use the University’s research contacts to gain experience in their area of interest before starting work or continuing with their studies.
Most of the teaching takes place within the School of GeoSciences, located within the University’s King’s Buildings campus.
You will also be able to access the University’s laboratories, computer facilities and libraries across all University sites.
Opportunities to study abroad are available through the ERASMUS programme, which offers placements throughout Europe. There are also opportunities to study further afield in North America, Australasia and Asia.
Opportunities to study abroad are available in this subject area.
The University was instrumental in introducing me to my employer and I found most of the courses I took were extremely relevant to my present employment.
This article was published on Jun 29, 2012